Party supporters raise flags in support of Nigerian President and Presidential candidate of the ruling People's Democratic Party Goodluck Jonathan and Vice President Namadi Sambo during a rally in Lagos on January 8, 2015. Nigeria's President Goodluc ~ PIUS UTOMI EKPEI
Lagos - The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Attahiru Jega, has defended the use of the card readers in the rescheduled general election.
The issue is among a number of updates he provided the Senate regarding preparations for the election slated for March 28 and April 11.
“On the issue of card readers which elicit emotion from the Senators, Prof Jega said it is within the powers of INEC to use both PVCs and card readers for the conduct of the election. According to him the card readers are not offensive to the Constitution, rather it adds value to the electoral process,” said a statement his office released.
Jega, appearing before the legislators in the House, narrated the advantage of the card readers to include detection of cloned PVCs.
“Any cloned PVC will be rejected by the card reader. Should the card reader refused to function on Election Day, the election in that centre will be postponed to the next day.”
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Meanwhile, the INEC leader told the senators that adequate preparation had been made for the conduct of a free and fair election.
Arrangement put in place for the election includes field evaluation to monitor readiness at State level and Headquarter evaluation to conduct assessment of preparation, Jega’s office stated.
“Prioritized areas of focus include collection of Permanent voters card whose distribution according to him is 75,94 percent across the nation, organized test for card readers viz. mock test and stress test, training for ad hoc staff, voters education and election transportation logistics.”
The Senate had earlier this week summoned Jega to appear before the House following the recent postponement of the general polls initially scheduled for this past weekend and the end of the month.
While INEC cited security concerns as the main hindrance, critics have questioned the capacity of the electoral body to conduct credible elections.